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The  ore,  the  furnace  and  the  hammer  are  all  that  is  needed 
for  a  sword. — Native  proverb. 

THIS  was  a  cantonment  one  had  never  seen 
bef ore,  and  the  greyAaired  military  police-' 
man  could  give  no  help. 

4 My  experience/  he  spoke  detachedly,  'is  that 
you'll  find  everything  everywhere*  Is  it  any 
particular  corps  you're  looking  for  ? ' 

4  Not  in  the  least/  I  said* 

4  Then  you're  all  right*  You  can't  miss  getting 
something/  He  pointed  generally  to  the  North 
Camp*  4  It's  like  floods  in  a  town,  isn't  it  ? ' 

He  had  hit  the  just  word*  All  known  marks 
in  the  place  were  submerged  by  troops*  Parade* 
grounds  to  their  utmost  limits  were  crowded  with 
them ;  rises  and  sky-lines  were  furred  with  them, 
and  the  length  of  the  roads  heaved  and  rippled 
like  bicycle'chains  with  blocks  of  men  on  the  move* 

The  voice  of  a  sergeant  in  the  torment  reserved 

m  i  B 



for  sergeants  at  roll-call  boomed  across  a  bunker* 
He  was  calling  over  recruits  to  a  specialist  corps* 

'But  I've  called  you  once!'  he  snapped  at  a 
man  in  leggings* 

4  But  I'm  Clarke  Two/  was  the  virtuous  reply* 

'Oh,  you  are,  are  you?'  He  pencilled  the 
correction  with  a  scornful  mouth*  out  of  one 
corner  of  which  he  added*  444 Sloppy"  Clarke! 
You're  all  Clarkes  or  Watsons  to-day*  You  don't 
know  your  own  names*  You  don't  know  what 
corps  you're  in*  (This  was  bitterly  unjust*  for 
they  were  squinting  up  at  a  biplane*)  You  don't 
know  anything*' 

'Mm!'  said  the  military  policeman*  'The 
more  a  man  has  in  his  head,  the  harder  it  is  for 
him  to  manage  his  carcass — at  first*  I'm  glad  I 
never  was  a  sergeant*  Listen  to  the  instructors ! 
Like  rooks*  ain't  it  ? ' 

There  was  a  mile  of  sergeants  and  instructors* 
varied  by  company  officers*  all  at  work  on  the 
ready  material  under  their  hands*  They  grunted* 
barked,  yapped*  expostulated*  and*  in  rare  cases, 
purred,  as  the  lines  broke  and  formed  and  wheeled 
over  the  vast  maidan*  When  companies  numbered 
off  one  could  hear  the  tone  and  accent  of  every 
walk  in  life,  and  maybe  half  the  counties  of 
England,  from  the  deep'throated  4  Woon '  of  the 
north  to  the  sharp,  half  ^whistled  Devonshire 4  Tu*' 
And  as  the  instructors  laboured*  so  did  the  men* 


with  a  passion  to  learn  as  passionately  as  they 
were  taught* 

Presently,  in  the  drift  of  the  foot^traffic  down 
the  road,  there  came  another  grey  Chaired  man,  one 
foot  in  a  bright  slipper,  which  showed  he  was  an 
old  soldier  cherishing  a  sore  toe*  He  drew  along* 
side  and  considered  these  zealous  myriads* 

4  Good  ? '  said  I,  deferentially* 

4 Yes/  he  said*  'Very  good' — then,  half  to 
himself :  '  Quite  different,  though/  A  pivot^man 
near  us  had  shifted  a  little,  instead  of  marking  time, 
on  the  wheel*  His  face  clouded,  his  lips  moved* 
Obviously  he  was  cursing  his  own  clumsiness* 

'  That's  what  I  meant/  said  the  veteran* 
4  Innocent !  Innocent  I  Mark  you,  they  ain't  doin' 
it  to  be  done  with  it  and  get  off*  They're  doin'  it 
because — because  they  want  to  do  it*' 

4  Wake  up !  Wake  up  there,  Isherwood ! '  This 
was  a  young  subaltern's  reminder  flung  at  a  back 
which  straightened  itself*  That  one  human  name 
coming  up  out  of  all  that  maze  of  impersonal 
manoeuvring  stuck  in  the  memory  like  wreckage 
on  the  ocean* 

4  An'  it  wasn't  'ardly  even  necessary  to  caution 
Mister  Isherwood/  my  companion  commented* 
4  Prob'ly  he's  bitterly  ashamed  of  'imself  *' 

I  asked  a  leading  question  because  the  old 
soldier  told  me  that  when  his  toe  was  sound,  he, 
too,  was  a  military  policeman* 



4  Crime  ?  Crime  ? '  said  he,  4  They  don't  know 
what  crime  is — that  lot  don't — none  of  'em  I '  He 
mourned  over  them  like  a  benevolent  old  Satan 
looking  into  a  busy  Eden,  and  his  last  word  was 
4  Innocent  I* 

The  car  worked  her  way  through  miles  of 
men — men  routexmarching,  going  to  dig  or  build 
bridges,  or  wrestle  with  stores  and  transport — four 
or  five  miles  of  men,  and  every  man  with  eager 
eyes.  There  was  no  music — not  even  drums  and 
fifes*  I  heard  nothing  but  a  distant  skirl  of  the 
pipes.  Trust  a  Scot  to  get  his  national  weapon  as 
long  as  there  is  a  chief  in  the  North  I  Admitting 
that  war  is  a  serious  business,  specially  to  the  man 
who  is  being  fought  for,  and  that  it  may  be  right 
to  carry  a  long  face  and  contribute  to  relief  funds 
which  should  be  laid  on  the  National  Debt,  it 
surely  could  do  no  harm  to  cheer  the  men  with  a 
few  bands.  Half  the  money  that  has  been  spent 
in  treating,  for  example*  *  .  . 


There  was  a  moor  among  woods  with  a  pond 
in  a  hollow,  the  centre  of  a  world  of  tents  whose 
population  was  North*Country.  One  heard  it 
from  far  off. 

'Yo'  mun  trail  t'  pick  an'  t'  rifle  at  t'  same 
time.  Try  again,'  said  the  instructor* 



An  isolated  company  tried  again  with  set 
seriousness,  and  yet  again.  They  were  used  to 
the  pick — won  their  living  by  it,  in  fact — and  so, 
favoured  it  more  than  the  rifle ;  but  miners  don't 
carry  picks  at  the  trail  by  instinct,  though  they  can 
twiddle  their  rifles  as  one  twiddles  walking-sticks. 

They  were  clad  in  a  blue  garb  that  disguised 
all  contours ;  yet  their  shoulders,  backs,  and  loins 
could  not  altogether  be  disguised,  and  these  were 
excellent.  Another  company,  at  physical  drill  in 
shirt  and  trousers,  showed  what  superb  material 
had  offered  itself  to  be  worked  upon,  and  how 
much  poise  and  directed  strength  had  been  added 
to  that  material  in  the  past  few  months.  When 
the  New  Army  gets  all  its  new  uniform,  it  will 
gaze  at  itself  like  a  new  Narcissus,  But  the 
present  kit  is  indescribable.  That  is  why,  English 
fashion,  it  has  been  made  honourable  by  its 
wearers ;  and  our  world  in  the  years  to  come  will 
look  back  with  reverence  as  well  as  affection  on 
those  blue  slops  and  that  epileptic  cap.  One  fan* 
seeing  commandant  who  had  special  facilities  has 
possessed  himself  of  brass  buttons,  thousands  of 
fem,  which  he  has  added  to  his  men's  outfit  for 
the  moral  effect  of  (a)  having  something  to  clean, 
and  (b)  of  keeping  it  so.  It  has  paid.  The 
smartest  regiment  in  the  Service  could  not  do 
itself  justice  in  such  garments,  but  I  managed  to 
get  a  view  of  a  battalion,  coming  in  from  a  walk, 



at  a  distance  which  more  or  less  subdued  the — er 
—uniform,  and  they  moved  with  the  elastic  swing 
and  little  quick  ripple  that  means  so  much*  A 
miner  is  not  supposed  to  be  as  good  a  marcher  as 
a  townsman,  but  when  he  gets  set  to  time  and 
pace  and  learns  due  economy  of  effort,  his 
developed  back  and  shoulder  muscles  take  him 
along  very  handsomely*  Another  battalion  fell 
in  for  parade  while  I  watched,  again  at  a  distance* 
They  came  to  hand  quietly  and  collectedly  enough, 
and  with  only  that  amount  of  pressing  which  is 
caused  by  fear  of  being  late*  A  platoon — or 
whatever  they  call  it — was  giving  the  whole  of  its 
attention  to  its  signalling  instructors,  with  the  air 
of  men  resolved  on  getting  the  last  flicker  of  the 
last  cinema^film  for  their  money*  Crime  in  the 
military  sense  they  do  not  know  any  more  than 
their  fellow^innocents  up  the  road*  It  is  hopeless 
to  pretend  to  be  other  than  what  one  is,  because 
one's  soul  in  this  life  is  as  exposed  as  one's  body* 
It  is  futile  to  tell  civilian  lies — there  are  no  civilians 
to  listen — and  they  have  not  yet  learned  to  tell 
Service  ones  without  being  detected*  It  is  useless 
to  sulk  at  any  external  condition  of  affairs,  because 
the  rest  of  the  world  with  which  a  man  is  concerned 
is  facing  those  identical  conditions*  There  is  neither 
poverty  nor  riches,  nor  any  possibility  of  pride, 
except  in  so  far  as  one  may  do  one's  task  a  little 
better  than  one's  mate* 




In  the  point  of  food  they  are  extremely  well 
looked  af  ter,  quality  and  quantity,  wet  canteen  and 
dry*  Drafts  come  in  all  round  the  clock,  and  they 
have  to  be  fed;  late  guards  and  sentries  want 
something  hot  at  odd  times,  and  the  big  marquee^ 
canteen  is  the  world's  gathering-place,  where  food, 
life's  first  interest  to  man  in  hard  work,  is  thoroughly 
discussed*  They  can  get  outside  of  a  vast  o'  vittles* 
Thus,  a  contractor  who  delivers  ten  thousand 
rations  a  day  stands,  by  deputy  at  least,  in  the 
presence  of  just  that  number  of  rather  fit,  long,  deep 
men*  They  are  what  is  called  4  independent f — a 
civilian  weakness  which  they  will  learn  to  blush 
over  in  a  few  months,  and  to  discourage  among 
later  recruits ;  but  they  are  also  very  quick  to  pick 
up  dodges  and  tricks  that  make  a  man  more  com- 
fortable  in  camp  life,  and  their  domestic  routine 
runs  on  wheels*  It  must  have  been  hard  at  first 
for  civilians  to  see  the  necessity  for  that  continuous, 
apparently  pernickity,  house-maiding  and  4  follow" 
ing'Up '  which  is  vital  to  the  comfort  of  large  bodies 
of  men  in  confined  quarters*  In  civil  life  men  leave 
these  things  to  their  womenfolk,  but  where  women 
are  not,  officers,  inspecting  tents,  feet,  and  suchlike, 
develop  a  she-side  to  their  head,  and  evidently 
make  their  non-commissioned  officers  and  men 
develop  it  too*  A  good  soldier  is  always  a  bit  of  an 



old  maid*  But,  as  I  heard  a  private  say  to  a 
sergeant  in  the  matter  of  some  kit  chucked  into  a 
corner :  '  Yo'  canna  keep  owt  redd  up  ony  proper 
gate  on  a  sand-hill/  To  whom  his  superior 
officer :  4  Ah  know  yo'  canna',  but  yo'  mun  try, 

And  Heaven  knows  they  are  trying  hard  enough 
— men,  n.c*o/s,  and  officers — with  all  the  masked 
and  undervoiced  effort  of  our  peoples  when  we 
are  really  at  work  They  stand  at  the  very  be- 
ginning  of  things  ;  creating  out  of  chaos,  meeting 
emergencies  as  they  arise ;  handicapped  in  every 
direction,  and  overcoming  every  handicap  by  simple 
goodwill,  humour,  self-sacrifice,  commonxsense, 
and  such  trumpery  virtues*  I  watched  their  faces 
in  the  camp,  and  at  lunch  looked  down  a  line  of 
some  twenty  men  in  the  mess-tent,  wondering  how 
many  would  survive  to  see  the  full  splendour  and 
significance  of  the  work  here  so  nobly  begun*  But 
they  were  not  interested  in  the  future  beyond  their 
next  immediate  job*  They  ate  quickly  and  went 
out  to  it,  and  by  the  time  I  drove  away  again  I  was 
overtaking  their  battalions  on  the  road*  Not  un- 
related units  lugged  together  for  foot-slogging,  but 
real  battalions,  of  a  spirit  in  themselves  which 
defied  even  the  blue  slops — wave  after  wave  of 
proper  men,  with  undistracted  eyes*  who  never 
talked  a  word  about  any  war*  But  not  a  note  of 
music — and  they  North-countrymen  I 



Thanda  lohd  garam  lohe  ko  marta  hai  (Cold  iron  will  cut 
hot  iron). 

A^1  the  next  halt  I  fell  into  Scotland— blocks 
and  blocks  of  it — a  world  of  precise'spoken, 
thin^lipped  men,  with  keen  eyes.  They 
gave  me  directions  which  led  by  friendly  stages  to 
the  heart  of  another  work  of  creation  and  a  huge 
drill' shed  where  the  miniature  rifles  were  busy* 
Few  things  are  duller  than  Morris^tube  practice  in 
the  shed,  unless  it  be  judging  triangles  of  error 
against  blank^walls*  I  thought  of  the  military 
policeman  with  the  sore  toe  ;  for  these  4  innocents f 
were  visibly  enjoying  both  games.  They  sighted 
over  the  sand  *  bags  with  the  gravity  of  surveyors, 
while  the  instructors  hurled  knowledge  at  them  like 

4  Man,  d'ye  see  your  error  ?  Step  here,  man, 
and  Fll  show  ye/  Teacher  and  taught  glared  at 
each  other  like  theologians  in  full  debate ;  for  this 
is  the  Scot's  way  of  giving  and  getting  knowledge. 



At  the  miniature  targets  squad  after  squad  rose 
from  beside  their  deadly  -earnest  instructors,  gathered 
up  their  target-cards*  and  whisperingly  compared 
them,  five  heads  together  under  a  window* 

'Aye,  that  was  where  I  loosed  too  soon/  'I 
misdoubt  I  took  too  much  o'  the  foresight/  Not 
a  word  of  hope  and  comfort  in  their  achievements* 
Nothing  but  calvinistic  self-criticism. 

These  men  ran  a  little  smaller  than  the  North- 
country  folk  down  the  road*  but  in  depth  of  chest* 
girth  of  fore-arm*  biceps*  and  neck-measurement 
they  were  beautifully  level  and  well  up ;  and  the 
squads  at  bayonet-practice  had  their  balance*  drive* 
and  recover  already*  As  the  light  failed  one  noticed 
the  whites  of  their  eyes  turning  towards  their 
instructors*  It  reminded  one  that  there  is  always 
a  touch  of  the  cateran  in  the  most  docile  Scot,  even 
as  the  wolf  persists  in  every  dog* 

4  And  what  about  crime  ? '  I  demanded* 

There  was  none*  They  had  not  joined  to  play 
the  fool.  Occasionally  a  few  unstable  souls  who 
have  mistaken  their  vocation  try  to  return  to  civil 
life  by  way  of  dishonourable  discharge*  and  think 
it  'funny'  to  pile  up  offences*  The  New  Army 
has  no  use  for  those  people  either*  and  attends  to 
them  on  what  may  be  called  'democratic  lines/ 
which  is  all  the  same  as  the  old  barrack-room  court- 
martial*  Nor  does  it  suffer  fools  gladly*  There  is  no 
time  to  instruct  them*  They  go  to  other  spheres, 



There  was,  or  rather  is,  a  man  who  intends  to 
join  a  certain  battalion*  He  joined  it  once,  scraped 
past  the  local  doctor,  and  was  drafted  into  the 
corps,  only  to  be  hove  out  for  varicose  veins*  He 
went  back  to  his  accommodating  doctor,  repeated 
the  process,  and  was  again  rejected*  They  are 
waiting  for  him  now  in  his  third  incarnation ;  both 
sides  are  equally  determined*  And  there  was 
another  Scot  who  joined,  served  awhile,  and  left, 
as  he  might  have  left  a  pit  or  a  factory*  Somehow 
it  occurred  to  him  that  explanations  were  required, 
so  he  wrote  to  his  commanding  officer  from  his 
home  address  and  asked  him  what  he  recommended 
him  to  do*  The  C*O*,  to  his  infinite  credit,  wrote 
back :  4  Suppose  you  rejoin/  which  the  man  did, 
and  no  more  said*  His  punishment,  of  course, 
will  come  to  him  when  he  realises  what  he  has 
done*  If  he  does  not  then  perish  in  his  self-contempt 
(he  has  a  good  conceit  of  himself)  he  will  make 
one  first-rate  non-commissioned  officer* 


I  had  the  luck  to  meet  a  Sergeant-Major,  who 
was  the  Sergeant-Major  of  one's  dreams*  He  had 
just  had  sure  information  that  the  kilts  for  his 
battalion  were  coming  in  a  few  days,  so,  after 
three  months'  hard  work,  life  smiled  upon  him* 
From  kilts  one  naturally  went  on  to  the  pipes* 



The  battalion  had  its  pipes — a  very  good  set* 
How  did  it  get  them  f  Well,  there  was,  of  course, 
the  Duke*  They  began  with  him.  And  there 
was  a  Scots  lord  concerned  with  the  regiment. 
And  there  was  a  leddy  of  a  certain  clan  connected 
with  the  battalion.  Hence  the  pipes.  Could  any^ 
thing  be  simpler  or  more  logical  ?  And  when  the 
kilts  came  the  men  would  be  different  creatures. 
Were  they  good  men,  I  asked.  '  Yes.  Verra  good. 
Wha's  to  mislead  'em  f f  said  he. 

4  Old  soldiers/  I  suggested,  meanly  enough. 
4  Rejoined  privates  of  long  ago/ 

4  Ay,  there  might  have  been  a  few  such  in  the 
beginning,  but  they'd  be  more  useful  in  the  Special 
Reserve  Battalions.  Our  boys  are  good  boys, 
but,  ye'll  understand,  they've  to  be  handled — just 
handled  a  little.'  Then  a  subaltern  came  in,  loaded 
with  regimental  forms,  and  visibly  leaning  on  the 
Sergeant  <•  Major,  who  explained,  clarified,  and 
referred  them  on  the  proper  quarters. 

'Does  the  work  come  back  to  you?'  I  asked, 
for  he  had  been  long  in  pleasant  civil  employ* 

*  Ay.  It  does  that.  It  just  does  that/  And  he 
addressed  the  fluttering  papers,  lists,  and  notes, 
with  the  certainty  of  an  old  golfer  on  a  well-known 

Squads  were  at  bayonet  practice  in  the  square* 
(They  like  bayonet  practice,  especially  after  looking 
at  pictures  in  the  illustrated  dailies.)  A  new  draft 


was  being  introduced  to  its  rifles*  The  rest  were 
getting  ready  for  evening  parade.  They  were  all 
in  khaki,  so  one  could  see  how  they  had  come  on 
in  the  last  ten  weeks*  It  was  a  result  the  meekest 
might  have  been  proud  of,  but  the  New  Army 
does  not  cultivate  useless  emotions*  Their  officers 
and  their  instructors  worked  over  them  patiently 
and  coldly  and  repeatedly,  with  their  souls  in  the 
job :  and  with  their  soul*  mind,  and  body  in  the 
same  job  the  men  took — soaked  up — the  instruction* 
And  that  seems  to  be  the  note  of  the  New  Army* 


They  have  joined  for  good  reason*  For  that 
reason  they  sleep  uncomplainingly  double  thick  on 
barrack  floors,  or  lie  like  herrings  in  the  tents  and 
sing  hymns  and  other  things  when  they  are  flooded 
out*  They  walk  and  dig  half  the  day  or  all  the 
night  as  required ;  they  wear — though  they  will 
not  eat — anything  that  is  issued  to  them ;  they 
make  themselves  an  organised  and  kindly  life  out 
of  a  few  acres  of  dirt  and  a  little  canvas ;  they  keep 
their  edge  and  anneal  their  discipline  under  con* 
ditions  that  would  depress  a  fox-terrier  and 
disorganise  a  champion  football  team*  They 
ask  nothing  in  return  save  work  and  equipment* 
And  being  what  they  are,  they  thoroughly  and 



unfeignedly  enjoy  what  they  are  doing ;  and  they 
purpose  to  do  much  more* 

But  they  also  think.  They  think  it  vile  that  so 
many  unmarried  young  men  who  are  not  likely 
to  be  affected  by  Government  allowances  should 
be  so  shy  about  sharing  their  life*  They  discuss 
these  young  men  and  their  womenfolk  by  name, 
and  imagine  rude  punishments  for  them,  suited  to 
their  known  characters.  They  discuss*  too,  their 
elders  who  in  time  past  warned  them  of  the  sin  of 
soldiering*  These  men*  who  live  honourably  and 
simply  under  the  triple  vow  of  Obedience*  Temper* 
ance*  and  Poverty*  recall*  not  without  envy*  the 
sort  of  life  which  well 'kept  moralists  lead  in  the 
unpicketed,  unsentried  towns;  and  it  galls  them 
that  such  folk  should  continue  in  comfort  and 
volubility  at  the  expense  of  good  men's  lives*  or 
should  profit  greasily  at  the  end  of  it  all*  They 
stare  hard,  even  in  their  blue  slops,  at  white-collared, 
bowler'hatted  young  men,  who,  by  the  way,  are 
just  learning  to  drop  their  eyes  under  that  gaze* 
In  the  third-class  railway  carriages  they  hint  that 
they  would  like  explanations  from  the  casual 4  nut/ 
and  they  explain  to  him  wherein  his  explanations 
are  unconvincing*  And  when  they  are  home  on 
leave,  the  slack-jawed  son  of  the  local  shop-keeper, 
and  the  rising  nephew  of  the  big  banker,  and  the 
dumb  but  cunning  carter's  lad  receive  instruction 
or  encouragement  suited  to  their  needs  and  the 



nation's.  The  older  men  and  the  officers  will  tell 
you  that  if  the  allowances  are  made  more  liberal  we 
shall  get  all  the  men  we  want*  But  the  younger 
men  of  the  New  Army  do  not  worry  about  allow' 
ances— or,  for  that  matter,  make  'em  1 

There  is  a  gulf  already  opening  between  those 
who  have  joined  and  those  who  have  not ;  but  we 
shall  not  know  the  width  and  the  depth  of  that 
gulf  till  the  war  is  oven  The  wise  youth  is  he 
who  jumps  it  now  and  lands  in  safety  among  the 
trained  and  armed  men* 




Under  all  and  after  all  the  Wheel  carries  everything.- — 

ONE  had  known  the  place  for  years  as  a 
picturesque  old  house,  standing  in  a  peace^ 
ful  park;  had  watched  the  growth  of 
certain  young  oaks  along  a  new-laid  avenue,  and 
applauded  the  owner's  enterprise  in  turning  a 
stretch  of  pasture  to  plough.  There  are  scores  of 
such  estates  in  England  which  the  motorist,  through 
passing  so  often,  comes  to  look  upon  almost  as  his 
own*  In  a  single  day  the  brackened  turf  between 
the  oaks  and  the  iron  road^fence  blossomed  into 
tents,  and  the  drives  were  all  cut  up  with  hoofs 
and  wheels.  A  little  later,  one's  car  sweeping 
home  of  warm  September  nights  was  stopped  by 
sentries,  who  asked  her  name  and  business;  for 
the  owner  of  that  retired  house  and  discreetly 
wooded  park  had  gone  elsewhere  in  haste,  and 
his  estate  was  taken  over  by  the  military. 
Later  still,  one  met  men  and  horses  arguing  with 



each  other  for  miles  about  that  countrywide ;  or  the 
car  would  be  flung  on  her  brakes  by  artillery 
issuing  from  cross-lanes — clean  batteries  jingling 
off  to  their  work  on  the  Downs,  and  hungry  ones 
coming  back  to  meals*  Every  day  brought  the 
men  and  the  horses  and  the  weights  behind  them 
to  a  better  understanding,  till  in  a  little  while  the 
car  could  pass  a  quarter  of  a  mile  of  them  with' 
out  having  to  hoot  more  than  once* 

'Why  are  you  so  virtuous ?'  she  asked  of  a 
section  encountered  at  a  blind  and  brambly  corner* 
4  Why  do  you  obtrude  your  personality  less  than 
an  average  tax-cart  ? ' 

^Because/  said  a  driver*  his  arm  flung  up  to 
keep  the  untrimmed  hedge  from  sweeping  his  cap 
off*  4  because  those  are  our  blessed  orders*  We 
don't  do  it  for  love/ 

^  No  on£  accuses  the  Gunner  of  maudlin  affection 
for  anything  except  his  beasts  and  his  weapons* 
He  hasn't  the  time*  He  serves  at  least  three 
jealous  gods — his  horse  and  all  its  saddlery  and 
harness ;  his  gun,  whose  least  detail  of  efficiency  is 
more  important  than  men's  lives ;  and,  when  these 
have  been  attended  to,  the  never-ending  mystery 
of  his  art  commands  him* 

It  was  a  wettish*  windy  day  when  I  visited  the 

so4ong'known  house  and  park*     Cock  pheasants 

ducked  in  and  out  of  trim  rhododendron  clumps, 

neat  gates  opened  into  sacredly  preserved  vegetable 

17  c 


gardens,  the  many-coloured  leaves  of  specimen 
trees  pasted  themselves  stickily  against  sodden  tent 
walls,  and  there  was  a  mixture  of  circus  smells 
from  the  horse-lines  and  the  faint,  civilised  breath 
of  chrysanthemums  in  the  potting  sheds*  The 
main  drive  was  being  relaid  with  a  foot  of  flint ; 
the  other  approaches  were  churned  and  pitted  under 
the  gun  wheels  and  heavy  supply  wagons.  Great 
breadths  of  what  had  been  well-kept  turf  between 
unbrowsed  trees  were  blanks  of  slippery  brown 
wetness,  dotted  with  picketed  horses  and  field* 
kitchens*  It  was  a  crazy  mixture  of  stark  necessity 
and  manicured  luxury,  all  cheek  by  jowl,  in  the 
undiscriminating  rain* 


The  cook-houses,  store-rooms,  forges,  and  work- 
shops were  collections  of  tilts,  poles,  rick-cloths,  and 
odd  lumber,  beavered  together  as  on  service*  The 
officers'  mess  was  a  thin,  soaked  marquee* 

Less  than  a  hundred  yards  away  were  dozens  of 
vacant,  well-furnished  rooms  in  the  big  brick  house, 
of  which  the  Staff  furtively  occupied  one  corner* 
There  was  accommodation  for  very  many  men  in 
its  stables  and  out-houses  alone;  or  the  whole 
building  might  have  been  gutted  and  rearranged  for 
barracks  twice  over  in  the  last  three  months* 

Scattered  among  the  tents  were  rows  of  half- 



built  tin  sheds,  the  ready-prepared  lumber  and  the 
corrugated  iron  lying  beside  them,  waiting  to  be 
pieced  together  like  children's  toys*  But  there 
were  no  workmen*  I  was  told  that  they  had  come 
that  morning,  but  had  knocked  off  because  it  was 

4 1  see*  And  where  are  the  batteries?"  I  de*- 

'Out  at  work,  of  course*  They've  been  out 
since  seven*' 

4  How  shocking  I    In  this  dreadful  weather,  too  I ' 

4  They  took  some  bread  and  cheese  with  them. 
They'll  be  back  about  dinner-time  if  you  care  to 
wait*  Here's  one  of  our  field-kitchens*' 

Batteries  look  after  their  own  stomachs,  and  are 
not  catered  for  by  contractors*  The  cook-house 
was  a  wagon'tilt*  The  wood,  being  damp,  smoked 
a  good  deal*  One  thought  of  the  wide,  adequate 
kitchen  ranges  and  the  concrete  passages  of  the 
service  quarters  in  the  big  house  just  behind*  One 
even  dared  to  think  Teutonically  of  the  perfectly 
good  panelling  and  the  thick  hard-wood  floors  that 

4  Service  conditions,  you  see,'  said  my  guide,  as 
the  cook  inspected  the  baked  meats  and  the  men 
inside  the  wagon-tilt  grated  the  carrots  and  prepared 
the  onions*  It  was  old  work  to  them  after  all 
these  months — done  swiftly,  with  the  clean  economy 
of  effort  that  camp  life  teaches* 



4  What  are  these  lads  when  they  're  at  home  ? ' 
I  inquired* 

4  Londoners  chiefly — all  sorts  and  conditions/ 

The  cook  in  shirt  sleeves  made  another  investi' 
gation*  and  sniffed  judicially*  He  might  have 
been  cooking  since  the  Peninsular*  He  looked  at 
his  watch  and  across  towards  the  park  gates*  He 
was  responsible  for  one  hundred  and  sixty  rations, 
and  a  battery  has  the  habit  of  saying  quite  all  that 
it  thinks  of  its  food* 

4  How  often  do  the  batteries  go  out  ?  *  I  continued* 

4  'Bout  five  days  a  week*  You  see*  we're  being 
worked  up  a  little/ 

4  And  have  they  got  plenty  of  ground  to  work 
over  ? ' 

4  Oh— yes-s/ 

4  What's  the  difficulty  this  time  ?    Birds  ? ' 

'No;  but  we  got  orders  the  other  day  not  to 
go  over  a  golf-course*  That  rather  knocks  the 
bottom  out  of  tactical  schemes*' 

Perfect  shamelessness*  like  perfect  virtue*  is 
impregnable ;  and*  after  all*  the  lightnings  of  this 
war,  which  have  brought  out  so  much  resolve  and 
self-sacrifice*  must  show  up  equally  certain  souls 
and  institutions  that  are  irredeemable* 

The  weather  took  off  a  little  before  noon*  The 
carpenters  could  have  put  in  a  good  half-day's 
work  on  the  sheds,  and  even  if  they  had  been 
rained  upon  they  had  roofs  with  fires  awaiting 



their  return*     The  batteries  had  none  of  these 


They  came  in  at  last  far  down  the  park,  heralded 
by  that  unmistakable  half-grumble,  half-grunt  of 
guns  on  the  move*  The  picketed  horses  heard  it 
first*  and  one  of  them  neighed  long  and  loud*  which 
proved  that  he  had  abandoned  civilian  habits* 
Horses  in  stables  and  mews  seldom  do  more  than 
snicker*  even  when  they  are  halves  of  separated 
pairs*  But  these  gentlemen  had  a  corporate  life  of 
their  own  now*  and  knew  what  *  pulling  together ' 

When  a  battery  comes  into  camp  it  4  parks '  all 
six  guns  at  the  appointed  place*  side  by  side  in  one 
mathematically  straight  line*  and  the  accuracy  of 
the  alignment  is,  like  ceremonial-drill  with  the  Foot, 
a  fair  test  of  its  attainments*  The  ground  was  no 
treat  for  parking*  Specimen  trees  and  draining 
ditches  had  to  be  avoided  and  circumvented*  The 
gunners*  their  reins,  the  guns*  the  ground,  were 
equally  wet,  and  the  slob  dropped  away  like  gruel 
from  the  brake-shoes*  And  they  were  Londoners 
— clerks,  mechanics,  shop  assistants,  and  delivery 
men — anything  and  everything  that  you  please* 
But  they  were  all  home  and  at  home  in  their 
saddles  and  seats*  They  said  nothing;  their 
officers  said  little  enough  to  them*  They  came  in 



across  what  had  once  been  turf;  wheeled  with 
tight  traces;  halted,  unhooked;  the  wise  teams 
stumped  off  to  their  pickets,  and,  behold,  the  six 
guns  were  left  precisely  where  they  should  have 
been  left  to  the  fraction  of  an  inch*  You  could 
see  the  wind  blowing  the  last  few  drops  of  wet 
from  each  leather  muzzle^cover  at  exactly  the  same 
angle*  It  was  all  old  known  evolutions,  taken 
unconsciously  in  the  course  of  their  day's  work  by 
men  well  abreast  of  it. 

4  Our  men  have  one  advantage/  said  a  voice* 
4  As  Territorials  they  were  introduced  to  unmade 
horses  once  a  year  at  training*  So  they've  never 
been  accustomed  to  made  horses*' 

'And  what  do  the  horses  say  about  it  all?'  I 
asked,  remembering  what  I  had  seen  on  the  road 
in  the  early  days* 

4  They  said  a  good  deal  at  first,  but  our  chaps 
could  make  allowances  for  'em*  They  know  now*' 

Allah  never  intended  the  Gunner  to  talk*  His 
own  arm  does  that  for  him*  The  batteries  off' 
saddled  in  silence,  though  one  noticed  on  all  sides 
little  quiet  caresses  between  man  and  beast  — 
affectionate  nuzzlings  and  nose^slappings*  Surely 
the  Gunner's  relation  to  his  horse  is  more  intimate 
even  than  the  cavalryman's ;  for  a  lost  horse  only 
turns  cavalry  into  infantry,  but  trouble  in  a  gun 
team  may  mean  death  all  round*  And  this  is  the 
Gunner's  war*  The  young  wet  officers  said  so 



joyously  as  they  passed  to  and  fro  picking  up 
scandal  about  breast^straps  and  breechings,  examin* 
ing  the  collars  of  ammunition^wagon  teams,  and 
listening  to  remarks  on  shoes*  Local  blacksmiths, 
assisted  by  the  battery  itself,  do  the  shoeing. 
There  are  master  smiths  and  important  farriers, 
who  have  cheerfully  thrown  up  good  wages  to 
help  the  game,  and  their  horses  reward  them  by 
keeping  fit*  A  fair  proportion  of  the  horses  are 
aged — there  was  never  a  Gunner  yet  satisfied  with 
his  team  or  its  rations  till  he  had  left  the  battery — 
but  they  do  their  work  as  steadfastly  and  whole^ 
heartedly  as  the  men,  I  am  persuaded  the  horses 
like  being  in  society  and  working  out  their  daily 
problems  of  draught  and  direction.  The  English, 
and  Londoners  particularly,  are  the  kindest  and 
most  reasonable  of  folk  with  animals.  If  it  were 
not  our  business  strictly  to  underrate  ourselves  for 
the  next  few  years,  one  would  say  that  the  Territorial 
batteries  had  already  done  wonders.  But  perhaps 
it  is  better  to  let  it  all  go  with  the  grudging  admis* 
sion  wrung  out  of  a  wringing  wet  bombardier, 
4  Well,  it  isn't  so  dam'  bad — considering 

I  left  them  taking  their  dinner  in  mess  tins  to  their 
tents,  with  a  strenuous  afternoon's  cleaning* up 
ahead  of  them.  The  big  park  held  some  thousands 
of  men,  I  had  seen  no  more  than  a  few  hundreds, 
and  had  missed  the  howitzer^batteries  after  all, 

A  cock  pheasant  chaperoned  me  down  the  drive, 



complaining  loudly  that  where  he  was  used  to  walk 
with  his  ladies  under  the  beech  trees,  some  unsport^ 
ing  people  had  built  a  miniature  landscape  with 
tiny  villages,  churches,  and  factories,  and  came 
there  daily  to  point  cannon  at  it 

4  Keep  away  from  that  place/  said  1, 4  or  you'll 
find  yourself  in  a  fidd  Jdtchen/ 

4  Not  me  ! '  he  crowed.    4  I'm  as  sacred  as  golf  < 



There  was  a  little  town  a  couple  of  miles  down 
the  road  where  one  used  to  lunch  in  the  old  days, 
and  had  the  hotel  to  oneself*  Now  there  are  six 
ever  *  changing  officers  in  billet  there,  and  the 
astonished  houses  quiver  all  day  to  traction  engines 
and  high'piled  lorries.  A  unit  of  the  Army  Service 
Corps  and  some  mechanical  transport  lived  near 
the  station,  and  fed  the  troops  for  twenty  miles 

'Are  your  people  easy  to  find?'  I  asked  of  a 
wandering  private,  with  the  hands  of  a  sweep,  the 
head  of  a  Christian  among  lions,  and  suicide  in 
his  eye. 

'Well,  the  A.S.C.  are  in  the  Territorial  Drill 
Hall  for  one  thing ;  and  for  another  you're  likely 
to  hear  us  I  There's  some  motors  come  in  from 
Bulford/  He  snorted  and  passed  on,  smelling  of 



The  drill' shed  was  peace  and  comfort  The 
A*S*C*  were  getting  ready  there  for  pay-day  and 
for  a  concert  that  evening*  Outside  in  the  wind 
and  the  occasional  rain-spurts,  life  was  different* 
The  Bulford  motors  and  some  other  crocks  sat  on 
a  side  "road  between  what  had  been  the  local 
garage  and  a  newly  ^erected  workshop  of  creaking 
scaf fold -  poles  and  bellying  slatting  rick -cloths, 
where  a  forge  glowed  and  general  repairs  were 
being  effected*  Beneath  the  motors  men  lay  on 
their  backs  and  called  their  friends  to  pass  them 
spanners,  or,  for  pity's  sake,  to  shove  another 
sack  under  their  mud-wreathed  heads* 

A  corporal,  who  had  been  nine  years  a  fitter 
and  seven  in  a  city  garage,  briefly  and  briskly 
outlined  the  more  virulent  diseases  that  develop 
in  Government  rolling-stock*  (I  heard  quite  a  lot 
about  Bulford*)  Hollow  voices  from  beneath 
eviscerated  gear-boxes  confirmed  him*  We  with' 
drew  to  the  shelter  of  the  rick-cloth  workshop — 
that  corporal ;  the  sergeant  who  had  been  a 
carpenter,  with  a  business  of  his  own,  and, 
incidentally,  had  served  through  the  Boer  War; 
another  sergeant  who  was  a  member  of  the  Master 
Builders'  Association;  and  a  private  who  had 
also  been  fitter,  chauffeur,  and  a  few  other  things* 
The  third  sergeant,  who  kept  a  poultryxfarm  in 
Surrey,  had  some  duty  elsewhere* 

A  man   at  a  carpenter's   bench   was  finishing 



a  spoke  for  a  newly^painted  cart*  He  squinted 
along  it* 

'That's  funny/  said  the  master  builder*  'Of 
course  in  his  own  business  he'd  chuck  his  job 
sooner  than  do  wood' work.  But  it's  all  funny/ 

'What  I  grudge/  a  sergeant  struck  in,  'is  havin' 
to  put  mechanics  to  loading  and  unloading  beef* 
That's  where  modified  conscription  for  the  beauties 
that  won't  roll  up  'Id  be  useful  to  z/s*  We  want 
hewers  of  wood*  we  do*  And  I'd  hew  'em ! ' 

4 1  want  that  file*'  This  was  a  private  in  a 
hurry*  come  from  beneath  an  unspeakable  Bulf ord* 
Some  one  asked  him  musically  if  he  '  would  tell 
his  wife  in  the  morning  who  he  was  with  tonight/ 

'  You'll  find  it  in  the  tookchest/  said  the  sergeant* 
It  was  his  ov/n  sacred  tool'chest  which  he  had 
contributed  to  the  common  stock* 

'And  what  sort  of  men  have  you  got  in  this 
unit  ? '  I  asked* 

'Every  sort  you  can  think  of*  There  isn't 
a  thing  you  couldn't  have  made  here  if  you  wanted 
to*  But ' — the  corporal*  who  had  been  a  f itter, 
spoke  with  fervour — '  you  can't  expect  us  to  make 
big'ends,  can  you  ?  That  f ive^ton  Bulford  lorry 
out  there  in  the  wet ' 

'And  she  isn't  the  worst/  said  the  master 
builder*  '  But  it's  all  part  of  the  game*  And  so 
funny  when  you  come  to  think  of  it*  Me  painting 
carts*  and  certificated  plumbers  loading  frozen  beef ! 9 



4  What  about  the  discipline  ? '  I  asked 

The  corporal  turned  a  fitter's  eye  on  me*  'The 
mechanism  is  the  discipline/  said  he,  with  most 
profound  truth.  4  Jockeyin'  a  sick  car  on  the  road 
is  discipline,  too*  What  about  the  discipline  ? '  He 
turned  to  the  sergeant  with  the  carpenter's  chest 
There  was  one  sergeant  of  Regulars,  with  twenty 
years'  service  behind  him  and  a  knowledge  of 
human  nature.  He  struck  in. 

4  You  ought  to  know.  YouVe  just  been  made 
corporal/  said  that  sergeant  of  Regulars. 

4  Well,  there's  so  much  which  everybody  knows 
has  got  to  be  done  that — that — why,  we  all  turn 
in  and  do  it/  quoth  the  corporal.  4 1  don't  have 
any  trouble  with  my  lot.' 

4 Yes;  that's  how  the  case  stands/  said  the 
sergeant  of  Regulars.  4  Come  and  see  our  stores.' 

They  were  beautifully  arranged  in  a  shed  which 
felt  like  a  monastery  after  the  windy,  clashing 
world  without ;  and  the  young  private  who  acted 
as  checker — he  came  from  some  railway  office — 
had  the  thin,  keen  face  of  the  cleric. 

4  We're  in  billets  in  the  town/  said  the  sergeant 
who  had  been  a  carpenter.  4  But  I'm  a  married 
man*  I  shouldn't  care  to  have  men  billeted  on  us 
at  home,  an'  I  don't  want  to  inconvenience  other 
people.  So  I've  knocked  up  a  bunk  for  myself  on 
the  premises.  It's  handier  to  the  stores,  too/ 




We  entered  what  had  been  the  local  garage* 
The  mechanical  transport  were  in  full  possession, 
tinkering  the  gizzards  of  more  cars*  We  discussed 
chewed'Up  gears  (samples  to  hand),  and  the  civil 
population's  okUtime  views  of  the  military*  The 
corporal  told  a  tale  of  a  clergyman  in  a  Midland 
town  who,  only  a  year  ago,  on  the  occasion  of 
some  manoeuvres,  preached  a  sermon  warning  his 
flock  to  guard  their  womenfolk  against  the  soldiers, 

4  And  when  you  think — when  you  know/  said 
the  corporal,  '  what  life  in  those  little  towns  really 
is  I '  He  whistled* 

'See  that  old  landau/  said  he,  opening  the 
door  of  an  ancient  wreck  jammed  against  a  wall 
4  That's  two  of  our  chaps'  dressing-room*  They 
don't  care  to  be  billeted,  so  they  sleep  'tween  the 
landau  and  the  wall*  It's  handier  for  their  work, 
too*  Work  comes  in  at  all  hours*  I  wish  I  was 
cavalry*  There's  some  use  in  cursing  a  horse*' 

Truly,  it's  an  awful  thing  to  belong  to  a  service 
where  speech  brings  no  alleviation* 

4  You  ! '  A  private  with  callipers  turned  from 
the  bench  by  the  window*  4  You'd  die  outside  of  a 
garage*  But  what  you  said  about  civilians  and 
soldiers  is  all  out  of  date  now*' 

The  sergeant  of  Regulars  permitted  himself  a 
small,  hidden  smile*  The  private  with  the  callipers 
had  been  some  twelve  weeks  a  soldier. 



4 1  don't  say  it  isn V  said  the  corporal  '  I'm 
saying  what  it  used  to  be/ 

'We«ell/  the  private  screwed  up  the  callipers, 
'didn't  you  feel  a  little  bit  that  way  yourself — 
when  you  were  a  civilian  ? ' 

4 1 — I  don't  think  I  did/  The  corporal  was  taken 
aback*  4 1  don't  think  I  ever  thought  about  it/ 

4  Ah!  There  you  are!'  said  the  private,  very  drily* 

Some  one  laughed  in  the  shadow  of  the  landau 
dressingxroom*  'Anyhow,  we're  all  in  it  now, 
Private  Percy/  said  a  voice* 

There  must  be  a  good  many  thousand  conversa^ 
tions  of  this  kind  being  held  all  over  England  now* 
adays*  Our  breed  does  not  warble  much  about 
patriotism  or  Fatherland,  but  it  has  a  wonderful 
sense  of  justice,  even  when  its  own  shortcomings 
are  concerned* 

We  went  over  to  the  drilLshed  to  see  the  men  paid* 

The  first  man  I  ran  across  there  was  a  sergeant 
who  had  served  in  the  Mounted  Infantry  in  the 
South  African  picnic  that  we  used  to  call  a  war* 
He  had  been  a  private  chauffeur  for  some  years — 
long  enough  to  catch  the  professional  look,  but 
was  joyously  reverting  to  service  type  again* 

The  men  lined  up,  were  called  out,  saluted 
emphatically  at  the  pay^table,  and  fell  back  with 
their  emoluments*  They  smiled  at  each  other* 

'An'  it's  all  so  funny/  murmured  the  master 
builder  in  my  ear*  'About  a  quarter — no,  less 



than  a  quarter — of  what  one  'ud  be  making  on 
one's  own ! ' 

4  Fifty  bob  a  week,  cottage,  and  all  found,  I  was* 
An'  only  two  cars  to  look  after/  said  a  voice 
behind*  'An'  if  I'd  been  asked — simply  asked— 

to  lie  down  in  the  mud  all  the  afternoon V 

The  speaker  looked  at  his  wages  with  awe.  Some 
one  wanted  to  know,  sotto  voce,  if  4  that  was  union 
rates/  and  the  grin  spread  among  the  uniformed 
experts*  The  joke,  you  will  observe,  lay  in 
situations  thrown  up,  businesses  abandoned,  and 
pleasant  prospects  cut  short  at  the  nod  of  duty* 

4  Thank  Heaven ! '  said  one  of  them  at  last, 4  it's 
too  dark  to  work  on  those  blessed  Bulfords  any 
more  toxday*  We'll  get  ready  for  the  concert/ 

But  it  was  not  too  dark,  half  an  hour  later,  for 
my  car  to  meet  a  big  lorry  storming  back  in  the 
wind  and  the  wet  from  the  northern  camps*  She 
gave  me  London  allowance — half  one  inch  between 
hub  and  hub — swung  her  corner  like  a  Brooklands 
professional,  changed  gear  for  the  uphill  with  a  sweet 
click,  and  charged  away*  For  aught  I  knew,  she  was 
driven  by  an  ex/fifty'bobxa'weekxa'Cottage'and' 
all'found  '*er,  who  next  month  might  be  dodging 
shells  with  her  and  thinking  it 4  all  so  funny*' 

Horse,  Foot,  even  the  Guns  may  sometimes  get 
a  little  rest,  but  so  long  as  men  eat  thrice  a  day 
there  is  no  rest  for  the  Army  Service  Corps*  They 
carry  the  campaign  on  their  all*sustaining  backs* 




Before  you  hit  the  buffalo,  find  out  where  the  rest  of  the  herd 
is. — Proverb. 

THIS  particular  fold  of  downs  behind  Salis- 
bury  might  have  been  a  hump  of  prairie 
near  Winnipeg*  The  team  that  came  over 
the  rise,  widely  spaced  between  pole-bar  and  whiffle- 
trees,  were  certainly  children  of  the  prairie*  They 
shied  at  the  car*  Their  driver  asked  them  dis- 
passionately what  they  thought  they  were  doing, 
anyway*  They  put  their  wise  heads  together,  and 
did  nothing  at  all*  Yes*  Oh,  yes !  said  the  driver* 
They  were  Western  horses*  They  weighed  better 
than  twelve  hundred  apiece.  He  himself  was  from 
Edmonton  way*  The  Camp?  Why,  the  camp 
was  right  ahead  along  up  this  road*  No  chance 
to  miss  it,  and, 4  Sa-ay !  Look  out  for  our  lorries ! ' 
A  fleet  of  them  hove  in  sight  going  at  the  rate  of 
knots,  and  keeping  their  left  with  a  conscientiousness 
only  learned  when  you  come  out  of  a  country  where 
nearly  all  the  Provinces  (except  British  Columbia) 



keep  to  the  right*  Every  line  of  them,  from  steering- 
wheel  to  brake-shoes,  proclaimed  their  nationality* 
Three  perfectly  efficient  young  men  who  were 
sprinkling  a  golf 'green  with  sifted  earth  ceased  their 
duties  to  stare  at  them*  Two  riding-boys  (also 
efficient)  on  racehorses*  their  knees  under  their  chins 
and  their  saddles  between  their  horses'  ears,  cantered 
past  on  the  turf*  The  rattle  of  the  motors  upset 
their  catsmeat,  so  one  could  compare  their  style  of 
riding  with  that  of  an  officer  loping  along  to  over* 
take  a  string  of  buck-wagons  that  were  trotting 
towards  the  horizon*  The  riding-boys  have  to 
endure  sore  hardship  nowadays*  One  gentleman 
has  already  complained  that  his  4  private  gallops f 
are  being  cut  up  by  gun-wheels  and  4  irremediably 

Then  more  lorries*  contractors'  wagons*  and  in- 
creasing vileness  of  the  battered  road-bed,  till  one 
slid  through  a  rude  gate  into  a  new  world*  of 
canvas  as  far  as  the  eye  could  reach,  and  beyond 
that  outlying  clouds  of  tents*  It  is  not  a  contingent 
that  Canada  has  sent,  but  an  army — horse,  foot, 
guns,  engineers,  and  all  details,  fully  equipped* 
Taking  that  army's  strength  at  thirty-three  thou- 
sand, and  the  Dominion's  population  at  eight 
million,  the  camp  is  Canada  on  the  scale  of  one 
to  two  hundred  and  forty — an  entire  nation  unrolled 
across  a  few  square  miles  of  turf  and  tents  and  huts* 

Here  I  could  study  at  close  hand  4  a  Colony ' 



yearning  to  shake  off  'the  British  yoke/  For, 
beyond  question,  they  yearned — the  rank  and  file 
unreservedly,  the  officers  with  more  restraint  but 
equal  fervour — and  the  things  they  said  about  the 
Yoke  were  simply  lamentable* 

From  Nova  Scotia  to  Victoria,  and  every  city, 
township,  distributingxcentre,  and  divisional  point 
between ;  from  subtropical  White  River  and  sultry 
Jackfish  to  the  ultimate  north  that  lies  up  beside 
Alaska ;  from  Kootenay,  and  Nelson  of  the  fruit^ 
farms,  to  Prince  Edward  Island,  where  motors  are 
not  allowed;  they  yearned  to  shake  it  off,  with 
the  dust  of  England  from  their  feet,  4  at  once  and 
some  time  before  that/ 

I  had  been  warned  that  when  Armageddon  came 
the  4  Colonies '  would  4  revolt  against  the  Mother 
Country  as  one  man';  but  I  had  no  notion  I 
should  ever  see  the  dread  spectacle  with  my  own 
eyes — or  the  4  one  man '  so  tall ! 

Joking  apart,  the  Canadian  Army  wants  to  get 
to  work*  It  admits  that  London  is  'some  city/ 
but  says  it  did  not  take  the  trip  to  visit  London 
only,  Armageddon,  which  so  many  people  in 
Europe  knew  was  bound  to  come,  has  struck 
Canada  out  of  the  blue,  like  a  noonday  murder 
in  a  small  town*  How  will  they  feel  when  they 
actually  view  some  of  the  destruction  in  France, 
these  men  who  are  used  to  making  and  owning 
their  homes?  And  what  effect  will  it  have  on 
33  D 


their  land's  outlook  and  development  for  the  next 
few  generations  ?  Older  countries  may  possibly  slip 
back  into  some  sort  of  toleration.  New  peoples, 
in  their  first  serious  war,  like  girls  in  their  first  real 
love-affair,  neither  forget  nor  forgive*  That  is  why 
it  pays  to  keep  friends  with  the  young. 

And  such  young!  They  ran  inches  above  all 
normal  standards,  not  in  a  few  companies  or 
battalions,  but  through  the  whole  corps;  and  it 
was  not  easy  to  pick  out  foolish  or  even  dull  faces 
among  them.  Details  going  about  their  business 
through  the  camp's  much  mud;  defaulters  on 
fatigue;  orderlies,  foot  and  mounted;  the  pro- 
cession of  lorry-drivers ;  companies  falling  in  for 
inspection;  battalions  parading;  brigades  moving 
off  for  manoeuvres ;  batteries  clanking  in  from  the 
ranges ;  they  were  all  supple,  free,  and  intelligent ; 
and  moved  with  a  lift  and  a  drive  that  made  one 
sing  for  joy. 


Only  a  few  months  ago  that  entire  collection 
poured  into  Valcartier  camp  in  pink  shirts  and 
straw  hats,  desperately  afraid  they  might  not  be  in 
time.  Since  then  they  have  been  taught  several 
things.  Notably,  that  the  more  independent  the 
individual  soldier,  the  more  does  he  need  fore" 
thought  and  endless  care  when  he  is  in  bulk. 



4  Just  because  we  were  all  used  to  looking  after 
ourselves  in  civil  life/  said  an  officer, 4  we  used  to 
send  parties  out  without  rations*  And  the  parties 
used  to  go,  tool  And  we  expected  the  boys  to 
look  after  their  own  feet*  But  we're  wiser 


4  They're  learning  the  same  thing  in  the  New 
Army/  I  said*  4  Company  officers  have  to  be 
taught  to  be  mothers  and  housekeepers  and  sanitary- 
inspectors*  Where  do  your  men  come  from  ? ' 

4  Tell  me  some  place  that  they  don't  come  from/ 
said  he,  and  I  could  not*  The  men  had  rolled  up 
from  everywhere  between  the  Arctic  circle  and  the 
border,  and  I  was  told  that  those  who  could  not 
get  into  the  first  contingent  were  moving  heaven  and 
earth  and  local  politicians  to  get  into  the  second* 

4  There's  some  use  in  politics  now/  that  officer 
reflected*  'But  it's  going  to  thin  the  voting  'lists 
at  home/ 

A  good  many  of  the  old  South  African  crowd 
(the  rest  are  coming)  were  present  and  awfully 
correct*  Men  last  met  as  privates  between  De 
Aar  and  Belmont  were  captains  and  majors  now* 
while  one  lad  who,  to  the  best  of  his  ability,  had 
painted  Cape  Town  pink  in  those  fresh  years, 
was  a  grim  non-commissioned  officer  worth  his 
disciplined  weight  in  dollars* 

'/  didn't  remind  Dan  of  old  times  when  he 
turned  up  at  Valcartier  disguised  as  a  respectable 



citizen/  said  my  informant  'I  just  roped  him  in 
for  my  crowd*  He's  a  father  to  'em*  He  knows/ 

4  And  have  you  many  cheery  souls  coming  on  ? ' 
I  asked* 

'Not  many;  but  it's  always  the  same  with  a 
first  contingent*  You  take  everything  that  offers 
and  weed  the  bravoes  out  later/ 

'We  don't  weed/  said  an  officer  of  artillery* 
'Any  one  who  has  had  his  passage  paid  for  by 
the  Canadian  Government  stays  with  us  till  he 
eats  out  of  our  hand*  And  he  does*  They  make 
the  best  men  in  the  long  run/  he  added*  I  thought 
of  a  friend  of  mine  who  is  now  disabusing  two  or 
three  '  old  soldiers f  in  a  Service  corps  of  the  idea 
that  they  can  run  the  battalion*  and  I  laughed* 
The  Gunner  was  right*  4  Old  soldiers/  after  a 
little  loving  care*  become  valuable  and  virtuous* 

A  company  of  Foot  was  drawn  up  under  the 
lee  of  a  fir  plantation  behind  us*  They  were  a 
miniature  of  their  army  as  their  army  was  of  their 
people*  and  one  could  feel  the  impact  of  strong 
personality  almost  like  a  blow* 

4  If  you'd  believe  it/  said  a  cavalryman* 4  we're 
forbidden  to  cut  into  that  little  wood'lot,  yonder ! 
Not  one  stick  of  it  may  we  have!  We  could 
make  shelters  for  our  horses  in  a  day  out  of  that 

4  But  it's  timber ! '  I  gasped*    4  Sacred*  tame  trees ! ' 

4  Oh*  we  know  what  wood  is !  They  issue  it 


to  us  by  the  pound*  Wood  to  burn — by  the 
pound  I  What's  wood  for,  anyway  ? ' 

4  And  when  do  you  think  we  shall  be  allowed 
to  go  ? '  some  one  asked,  not  for  the  first  time, 

4  By  and  by/  said  L  4  And  then  you'll  have  to 
detail  half  your  army  to  see  that  your  equipment 
isn't  stolen  from  you/ 

4  What ! f  cried  an  old  Strathcona  Horse*  He 
looked  anxiously  towards  the  horse-lines. 

4 1  was  thinking  of  your  mechanical  transport 
and  your  travelling  workshops  and  a  few  other 
things  that  you've  got/ 

I  got  away  from  those  large  men  on  their  windy 
hill'top,  and  slid  through  mud  and  past  mechanical 
transport  and  troops  untold  towards  Lark  Hill. 
On  the  way  I  passed  three  fresh<cut  pine  sticks, 
laid  and  notched  one  atop  of  the  other  to  shore  up 
a  caving  bank.  Trust  a  Canadian  or  a  beaver 
within  gunshot  of  standing  timber ! 


Lark  Hill  is  where  the  Canadian  Engineers  live, 
in  the  midst  of  a  profligate  abundance  of  tools  and 
carts,  pontoon  wagons,  field  telephones,  and  other 
mouth-watering  gear.  Hundreds  of  tin  huts  are 
being  built  there,  but  quite  leisurely,  by  contract 
I  noticed  three  workmen,  at  eleven  o'clock  of  that 



Monday  forenoon,  as  drunk  as  Davy's  sow,  reel- 
ing and  shouting  across  the  landscape*  So  far  as 
I  could  ascertain,  the  workmen  do  not  work  extra 
shifts,  nor  even,  but  I  hope  this  is  incorrect,  on 
Saturday  afternoons ;  and  I  think  they  take  their 
full  hour  at  noon  these  short  days* 

Every  camp  throws  up  men  one  has  met  at  the 
other  end  of  the  earth ;  so,  of  course,  the  Engineer 
C*O*  was  an  ex-South  African  Canadian* 

'Some  of  our  boys  are  digging  a  trench  over 
yonder/  he  said*  4  I'd  like  you  to  look  at  'em*' 

The  boys  seemed  to  average  five  feet  ten  inches, 
with  thirty-seven  inch  chests*  The  soil  was  un^ 
accommodating  chalk* 

4  What  are  you  ? '  I  asked  of  the  first  pickaxe* 


'Yes,  but  before  that?' 

4  McGill  (University  understood)*  Nineteen 

4  And  that  boy  with  the  shovel  ? ' 

4  Queen's,  I  think*     No ;  he's  Toronto*' 

And  thus  the  class  in  applied  geology  went  on 
half  up  the  trench,  under  supervision  of  a  Corporal- 
Bachelor-of- Science  with  a  most  scientific  biceps* 
They  were  young ;  they  were  beautifully  fit,  and 
they  were  all  truly  thankful  that  they  lived  in  these 
high  days* 

Sappers,  like  sergeants,  take  care  to  make  them- 
selves comfortable*  The  corps  were  dealing  with 



all  sorts  of  little  domestic  matters  in  the  way  of 
arrangements  for  baths,  which  are  cruelly  needed, 
and  an  apparatus  for  depopulating  shirts,  which  is 
even  more  wanted*  Healthy  but  unwashen  men 
sleeping  on  the  ground  are  bound  to  develop 
certain  things  which  at  first  disgust  them,  but 
later  are  accepted  as  an  unlovely  part  of  the  game* 
It  would  be  quite  easy  to  make  bakehouses  and 
superheated  steam  fittings  to  deal  with  the  trouble* 
The  huts  themselves  stand  on  brick  piers,  from  one 
to  three  feet  above  ground*  The  board  floors  are 
not  grooved  or  tongued,  so  there  is  ample  ventila*- 
tion  from  beneath ;  but  they  have  installed  decent 
cooking  ranges  and  gas,  and  the  men  have  already 
made  themselves  all  sorts  of  handy  little  labour^ 
saving  gadgets*  They  would  do  this  if  they  were 
in  the  real  desert*  Incidentally,  I  came  across  a 
delightful  bit  of  racial  instinct*  A  man  had  been 
told  to  knock  up  a  desk  out  of  broken  packing' 
cases*  There  is  only  one  type  of  desk  in  Canada 
—the  rollerxtop,  with  three  shelves  each  side  the 
knee-hole,  characteristic  sloping  sides,  raised  back, 
and  long  shelf  in  front  of  the  writer*  He  re^ 
produced  it  faithfully,  barring,  of  course,  the  roller^ 
top ;  and  the  thing  leaped  to  the  eye  out  of  its 
English  office  surroundings*  The  Engineers  do 
not  suffer  for  lack  of  talents*  Their  senior  officers 
appear  to  have  been  the  heads,  and  their  juniors 
the  assistants,  in  big  concerns  that  wrestle  with 



unharnessed  nature*  (There  is  a  tale  of  the  build- 
ing of  a  bridge  in  Valcartier  Camp  which  is  not 
bad  hearing,)  The  rank  and  file  include  miners ; 
road*  trestle,  and  bridge  men ;  iron  construction 
men  who*  among  other  things*  are  steeplejacks; 
whole  castes  of  such  as  deal  in  high  explosives  for 
a  living;  loco<drivers,  superintendents*  too*  for 
aught  I  know*  and  a  solid  packing  of  selected 
machinists*  mechanics*  and  electricians*  Unluckily* 
they  were  all  a  foot  or  so  too  tall  for  me  to  tell 
them  that*  even  if  their  equipment  escaped  at  the 
front,  they  would  infallibly  be  raided  for  their  men* 


I  left  McGill,  Queen's,  and  Toronto  still  digging 
in  their  trench,  which  another  undergraduate, 
mounted  and  leading  a  horse,  went  out  of  his  way 
to  jump  standing*  My  last  glimpse  was  of  a  little 
detachment,  with  five  or  six  South  African  ribbons 
among  them,  who  were  being  looked  over  by  an 
officer*  No  one  thought  it  strange  that  they  should 
have  embodied  themselves  and  crossed  the  salt 
seas  independently  as  4  So-and-So's  Horse/  (It  is 
best  to  travel  with  a  title  these  days,)  Once  arrived, 
they  were  not  at  all  particular,  except  that  they 
meant  to  join  the  Army,  and  the  lonely  batch  was 
stating  its  qualifications  as  Engineers* 



4  They  get  over  any  way  and  every  way/  said 
my  companion*  '  Swimming,  I  believe/ 

'But  who  was  the  So-and-So  that  they  were 
christened  after  ? '  I  asked* 

4 1  guess  he  was  the  man  who  financed  'em  or 
grub-staked  'em  while  they  were  waiting*  He 
may  be  one  of  'em  in  that  crowd  now ;  or  he  may 
be  a  provincial  magnate  at  home  getting  another 
bunch  together*' 


Then  I  went  back  to  the  main  camp  for  a  last 
look  at  that  wonderful  army*  where  the  tin-roofed 
messes  take  French  conversation  lessons  with  the 
keen-faced  French-Canadian  officers,  and  where 
one  sees  esprit-de-corps  in  the  making*  Nowhere 
is  local  sentiment  stronger  than  in  Canada*  East 
and  West*  lake  and  maritime  provinces*  prairie  and 
mountain*  fruit  district  and  timber  lands— they  each 
thrill  to  it*  The  West  keeps  one  cold  blue  open- 
air  eye  on  the  townful  East*  Winnipeg  sits 
between*  posing  alternately  as  sophisticated  metro- 
polis and  simple  prairie*  Alberta*  of  the  thousand 
horses*  looks  down  from  her  high-peaked  saddle 
on  all  who  walk  on  their  feet;  and  British 
Columbia  thanks  God  for  an  equable  climate*  and 
that  she  is  not  like  Ottawa*  full  of  politicians  and 
frozen  sludge*  Quebec*  unassailable  in  her  years 



and  experience,  smiles  tolerantly  on  the  Nova 
Scotian,  for  he  has  a  history  too,  and  asks  Montreal 
if  any  good  thing  can  come  out  of  Brandon,  Moose 
Jaw,  or  Regina*  They  discuss  each  other  out' 
rageously,  as  they  know  each  other  intimately, 
over  four  thousand  miles  of  longitude — their  fathers, 
their  families,  and  all  the  connections*  Which  is 
useful  when  it  comes  to  sizing  up  the  merits  of  a 
newly-promoted  non-commissioned  officer  or  the 
capacities  of  a  quarter-master* 

As  their  Army  does  and  suffers,  and  its  record 
begins  to  blaze,  fierce  pride  of  regiment  will  be 
added  to  local  love  and  the  national  pride  that 
backs  and  envelops  all  But  that  pride  is  held  in 
very  severe  check  now;  for  they  are  neither 
provinces  nor  tribes  but  a  welded  people  fighting 
in  the  War  of  Liberty*  They  permit  themselves 
to  hope  that  the  physique  of  their  next  contingent 
will  not  be  worse  than  that  of  the  present*  They 
believe  that  their  country  can  send  forward  a  certain 
number  of  men  and  a  certain  number  behind  that, 
all  equipped  to  a  certain  scale*  Of  discomforts 
endured,  of  the  long  learning  and  relearning  and 
waiting  on,  they  say  nothing*  They  do  not  hint 
what  they  will  do  when  their  hour  strikes,  though 
they  more  than  hint  their  longing  for  that  hour* 
In  all  their  talk  I  caught  no  phrase  that  could  be 
twisted  into  the  shadow  of  a  boast  or  any  claim 
to  superiority,  even  in  respect  to  their  kit  and  outfit ; 



no  word  or  implication  of  self-praise  for  any  sacrifice 
made  or  intended*  It  was  their  rigid  humility  that 
impressed  one  as  most  significant — and,  perhaps, 
most  menacing  for  such  as  may  have  to  deal  with 
this  vanguard  of  an  armed  Nation* 




Larai  mefi  laddu  nahin  batte  (War  is  not  sugar-plums). — 
Hindi  Proverb. 

WORKING  from  the  East  to  the  West  of 
England,  through  a  countryside  alive 
with  troops  of  all  arms,  the  car  came  at 
dusk  into  a  cathedral  town  entirely  inhabited  by 
one  type  of  regiment.  The  telegraplvoffice  was 
an  orderly  jam  of  solid,  large,  made  men,  with 
years  of  discipline  behind  them  and  the  tan  of 
Indian  suns  on  their  faces — Englishmen  still  so 
fresh  from  the  troopships  that  one  of  them  asked 
me, 4  What's  the  day  o'  the  month  ? '  They  were 
advising  friends  of  their  arrival  in  England,  or 
when  they  might  be  expected  on  short  leave  at 
the  week's  end  ;  and  the  fresh-faced  telegraph  girls 
behind  the  grilles  worked  with  six  pairs  of  hands 
apiece  and  all  the  goodwill  and  patience  in  the 
world  to  back  them.  That  same  young  woman 
who,  with  nothing  to  do,  makes  you  wait  ten 



minutes  for  a  penny  stamp  while  she  finishes  a 
talk  with  a  lady-friend,  will,  at  a  crisis,  go  on  till 
she  drops,  and  keep  her  temper  throughout  4  Well, 
if  that's  her  village/  I  heard  one  of  the  girls  say 
to  an  anxious  soul,  'I  tell  you  that  that  will  be  her 
telegraph-office*  You  leave  it  to  me.  She9 II  get 
it  all  right/ 

He  backed  out,  and  a  dozen  more  quietly  took 
his  place.  Their  regiments  hailed  from  all  the  old 
known  stations  of  the  East  and  beyond  that  into 
the  Far  East  again.  They  cursed  their  cool  barrack 
accommodation  ;  they  rejoiced  in  the  keen  autumn 
smells,  and  paraded  the  long  street  all  filled  with 
4  Europe  shops ';  while  their  officers  and  their 
officers'  wives,  and,  I  think,  mothers  who  had 
come  down  to  snatch  a  glimpse  of  their  boys, 
crowded  the  hotels,  and  the  little  unastonished 
Anglo-Indian  children  circulated  round  the  knees 
of  big  friends  they  had  made  aboardship  and 
asked,  '  Where  are  you  going  now  ? ' 

One  caught  scraps  of  our  old  gipsy  talk — names 
of  boarding-houses,  agents'  addresses:  4  Milly  stays 
with  mother,  of  course/  4  I'm  taking  Jack  down 
to  school  to-morrow.  It's  past  half-term,  but  that 
doesn't  matter  nowadays ' ;  and  cheery  farewells 
between  men  and  calm-eyed  women.  Except  for 
the  frocks,  it  might  have  been  an  evening  assembly 
at  any  station  bandstand  in  India. 

Outside,  on  the  surging  pavements,  a  small  boy 


cried:  *  Paper!  EveniV  paper!'  Then  seductively: 

4  What  ?  '  I  said,  thinking  my  ears  had  cheated 

4  Dekko!  Kargus!'  said  he.  ('Look  here! 

4  Why  on  earth  d'you  say  that  ?  ' 

4  Because  the  men  like  it/  he  replied,  and  slapped 
an  evening  paper  (no  change  for  a  penny)  into  the 
hand  of  a  man  in  a  helmet 

Who  shall  say  that  the  English  are  not 

The  car  swam  bonnet-deep  through  a  mile  of 
troops;  and  a  mile  up  the  road  one  could  hear 
the  deep  hum  of  all  those  crowded  streets  that  the 
cathedral  bells  were  chiming  oven  It  was  only 
one  small  block  of  Anglo-India  getting  ready  to 
take  its  place  in  the  all-devouring  Line. 


An  hour  later  at (Shall  we  ever  be  able  to 

name  people  and  places  outright  again  ?)  the  wind 
brought  up  one  whiff — one  unmistakable  whiff — 
of  ghu  Somewhere  among  the  English  pines 
that,  for  the  moment,  pretended  to  be  the  lower 
slopes  of  the  Dun,  there  were  native  troops.  A 
mule  squealed  in  the  dark  and  set  off  half-a-dozen 


others*  It  was  screw  ^  guns —  batteries  of  them, 
waiting  their  turn  also  at  the  game*  Morning 
showed  them  in  their  immaculate  lines  as  though 
they  had  just  marched  in  from  Jutogh — little*  low 
guns  with  their  ammunition;  very  big  English 
gunners  in  disengaged  attitudes  which,  nevertheless* 
did  not  encourage  stray  civilians  to  poke  and  peer 
into  things ;  and  the  native  drivers  all  busied  over 
their  charges*  True,  the  wind  was  bitter,  and 
many  of  the  drivers  had  tied  up  their  heads,  but 
so  one  does  at  Quetta  in  the  cold  weather — not 
to  mention  Peshawur — and,  said  a  naick  of  drivers: 
4  It  is  not  the  cold  for  which  we  have  no  liking* 
It  is  the  wet*  The  English  air  is  good,  but  water 
falls  at  all  seasons*  Yet  notwithstanding,  we  of 
this  battery  (and,  oh,  the  pride  men  can  throw  into 
a  mere  number!)  have  not  lost  one  mule*  Neither 
at  sea  nor  on  land  have  we  one  lost*  That  can  be 
shown,  sahib/ 

Then  one  heard  the  deep  racking  tobaco>cough 
in  the  lee  of  a  tent  where  four  or  five  men— 
Kangra  folk  by  the  look  of  them — were  drinking 
tobacco  out  of  a  cow's  horn*  Their  own  country's 
tobacco,  be  sure,  for  English  tobacco*  *  *  *  But 
there  was  no  need  to  explain*  Who  would  have 
dreamed  to  smell  bazar^tobacco  on  a  south  country 
golf  links  ? 

A  large  proportion  of  the  men  are,  of  course, 
Sikhs*  to  whom  tobacco  is  forbidden ;  the  Havildar 



Major  himself  was  a  Sikh  of  the  Sikhs,  He  spoke, 
of  all  things  in  this  strange  world,  of  the  late  Mr, 
M,  McAuliffe's  monumental  book  on  the  Sikh 
religion,  saying,  not  without  warrant,  that  McAulif f e 
Sahib  had  translated  into  English  much  of  the 
Holy  Book — the  great  Grunth  Sahib  that  lives 
at  Amritzar,  He  enlarged,  too,  on  the  ancient 
prophecy  among  the  Sikhs — that  a  hatted  race 
should,  some  day  come  out  of  the  sea  and  lead 
them  to  victory  all  the  earth  over.  So  spoke  Bir 
Singh,  erect  and  enormous  beneath  the  grey 
English  skies.  He  hailed  from  a  certain  place  called 
Banalu,  near  Patiala,  where  many  years  ago  two 
Sikh  soldiers  executed  a  striking  but  perfectly  just 
vengeance  on  certain  villagers  who  had  oppressed 
their  young  brother,  a  cultivator.  They  had  gone 
to  the  extreme  limits  of  abasement  and  conciliation. 
This  failing,  they  took  leave  for  a  week-end  and 
slew  the  whole  tribe  of  their  enemies.  The  story 
is  buried  in  old  Government  reports,  but  when  Bir 
Singh  implied  that  he  and  his  folk  were  orthodox 
I  had  no  doubt  of  it.  And  behind  him  stood 
another  giant,  who  knew,  for  his  village  was  but  a 
few  miles  up  the  Shalimar  road,  every  foot  of 
Lahore  city.  He  brought  word  that  there  had  been 
great  floods  at  home,  so  that  the  risen  Ravi  river 
had  touched  the  very  walls  of  Runjit  Singh's  Fort, 
And  that  was  only  last  rains — and,  behold ! — here 
he  was  now  in  England  waiting  orders  to  go  to 



this  fight  which,  he  understood,  was  not  at  all  a 
small  fight,  but  a  fight  of  fights,  in  which  all  the 
world  and  4  our  Raj '  was  engaged.  The  trouble  in 
India  was  that  all  the  young  men — the  mere  jiwans 
—wanted  to  come  out  at  once,  which,  he  said,  was 
manifestly  unjust  to  older  men,  who  had  waited 
so  long*  However,  merit  and  patience  had  secured 
their  reward,  and  the  battery  was  here,  and  it  would 
do  the  hot  jiwans  no  harm  to  stay  at  home,  and  be 
zealous  at  drill  until  orders  came  for  them  in  their 
turn,  4  Young  men  think  that  everything  good  in 
this  world  is  theirs  by  right,  sahib/ 

Then  came  the  big,  still  English  gunners,  who 
are  trained  to  play  with  the  little  guns*  They  took 
one  such  gun  and  melted  it  into  trifling  pieces  of 
not  more  than  a  hundred  and  fifty  pounds  each, 
and  reassembled  it,  and  explained  its  innermost 
heart  till  even  a  layman  could  understand*  There 
is  a  lot  to  understand  about  screw^guns — specially 
the  new  kind*  But  the  gunner  of  to-day,  like  his 
ancestor,  does  not  talk  much,  except  in  his  own 
time  and  place,  when  he  is  as  multitudinously 
amazing  as  the  Blue  Marine* 


We  went  over  to  see  the  mule  lines*  I  detest  the 
whole  generation  of  these  parrot-mouthed  hybrids, 
American,  Egyptian,  Andalusian,  or  up-country: 

49  E 


so  it  gave  me  particular  pleasure  to  hear  a  Pathan 
telling  one  chestnut  beast  who  objected  to  having 
its  mane  hogged  any  more,  what  sort  of  lady 'horse 
his  mamma  had  been.  But  qua  animals,  they  were 
a  lovely  lot,  and  had  long  since  given  up  blowing 
and  finicking  over  English  fodder, 

'Is  there  any  sickness?  Why  is  yonder  mule 
lying  down  ? '  I  demanded,  as  though  all  the  lines 
could  not  see  I  was  a  shuddering  amateur* 

4 There  is  no  sickness,  sahib?  That  mule  lies 
down  for  his  own  pleasure*  Also,  to  get  out  of 
the  wind.  He  is  very  eleven  He  is  from  Hindu* 
stan/  said  the  man  with  the  horse-clippers* 


4 1  am  a  Pathan/  said  he  with  impudent  grin  and 
true  border  cock  of  the  turban,  and  he  did  me  the 
honour  to  let  me  infer. 

The  lines  were  full  of  talk  as  the  men  went  over 
their  animals*  They  were  not  worrying  themselves 
over  this  new  country  of  Belait*  It  was  the 
regular  gossip  of  food  and  water  and  firewood,  and 
where  So-and-so  had  hid  the  curry-comb* 

Talking  of  cookery,  the  orthodox  men  have 
been  rather  put  out  by  English  visitors  who  come 
to  the  cook-houses  and  stare  directly  at  the  food 
while  it  is  being  prepared*  Sensible  men  do  not 
object  to  this,  because  they  know  that  these 
Englishmen  have  no  evil  intention  nor  any  evil  eye; 
but  sometimes  a  narrowsouled  purist  (toothache 


or  liver  makes  a  man  painfully  religious)  will 4  spy 
strangers/  and  insist  on  the  strict  letter  of  the  law, 
and  then  every  one  who  wishes  to  be  orthodox 
must  agree  with  him — on  an  empty  stomach,  too 
— and  wait  till  a  fresh  mess  has  been  cooked* 
This  is  taklif—Si  burden — for  where  the  intention 
is  good  and  war  is  afoot  much  can  and  should  be 
overlooked*  Moreover,  this  war  is  not  like  any 
other  wan  It  is  a  war  of  our  Raj — 4  everybody's 
war/  as  they  say  in  the  bazaars*  And  that  is 
another  reason  why  it  does  not  matter  if  an 
Englishman  stares  at  one's  food*  This  I  gathered 
in  small  pieces  after  watering  time  when  the  mules 
had  filed  up  to  the  troughs  in  the  twilight,  hundreds 
of  them,  and  the  drivers  grew  discursive  on  the 
way  to  the  lines* 

The  last  I  saw  of  them  was  in  the  early  cold 
morning,  all  in  marching  order,  jinking  and  jingling 
down  a  road  through  woods. 

4  Where  are  you  going  ? ' 

4  God  knows ! ' 


It  might  have  been  for  exercise  merely,  or  it 
might  be  down  to  the  sea  and  away  to  the  front 
for  the  battle  of  '  Our  Raj*'  The  quiet  hotel  where 
people  sit  together  and  talk  in  earnest  strained  pairs 
is  well  used  to  such  departures*  The  officers  of 


a  whole  Division — the  raw  cuts  of  their  tent-circles 
lie  still  urihealed  on  the  links  —  dined  there  by 
scores ;  mothers  and  relatives  came  down  from  the 
uttermost  parts  of  Scotland  for  a  last  look  at  their 
boys,  and  found  beds  goodness  knows  where: 
very  quiet  little  weddings,  too,  set  out  from  its 
doors  to  the  church  opposite.  The  Division  went 
away  a  century  of  weeks  ago  by  the  road  that  the 
mulexbattery  took  Many  of  the  civilians  who 
pocketed  the  wills  signed  and  witnessed  in  the 
smoking-room  are  full-blown  executors  now ;  some 
of  the  brides  are  widows. 

And  it  is  not  nice  to  remember  that  when  the 
hotel  was  so  filled  that  not  even  another  pleading 
mother  could  be  given  a  place  in  which  to  lie  down 
and  have  her  cry  out — not  at  all  nice  to  remember 
that  it  never  occurred  to  any  of  the  comfortable 
people  in  the  large  but  sparsely  inhabited  houses 
around  that  they  might  have  offered  a  night's 
lodging,  even  to  an  unintroduced  stranger. 


There  were  hospitals  up  the  road  preparing  and 
being  prepared  for  the  Indian  wounded.  In  one  of 
these  lay  a  man  of,  say,  a  Biluch  regiment,  sorely 
hit.  Word  had  come  from  his  colonel  in  France  to 
the  colonel's  wife  in  England  that  she  should  seek 
till  she  found  that  very  man  and  got  news  from  his 


very  mouth — news  to  send  to  his  family  and 
village*  She  found  him  at  last,  and  he  was  very 
bewildered  to  see  her  there,  because  he  had  left  her 
and  her  child  on  the  verandah  of  the  bungalow, 
long  and  long  ago,  when  he  and  his  colonel  and  the 
regiment  went  down  to  take  ship  for  the  wan 
How  had  she  come?  Who  had  guarded  her 
during  her  train-journey  of  so  many  days  ?  And, 
above  all,  how  had  the  baba  endured  that  sea 
which  caused  strong  men  to  collapse  ?  Not  till  all 
these  matters  had  been  cleared  up  in  fullest  detail 
did  Greatheart  on  his  cot  permit  his  colonel's  wife 
to  waste  one  word  on  his  own  insignificant 
concerns.  And  that  she  should  have  wept  filled 
him  with  real  trouble*  Truly,  this  is  the  war  of 



To  excuse  oneself  to  oneself  is  human :  but  to  excuse 
oneself  to  one's  children  is  Hell. — Arabic  Proverb. 

BILLETED  troops  are  difficult  to  get  at 
There  are  thousands  of  them  in  a  little  old 
town  by  the  side  of  an  even  older  park  up 
the  London  Road,  but  to  find  a  particular  battalion 
is  like  ferreting  unstopped  burrows. 

'The  Umpty-Umpth,  were  you  looking  for?' 
said  a  private  in  charge  of  a  side-car.  4  We're  the 
Eenty^Eenth*  'Only  came  in  last  week  I've 
never  seen  this  place  before*  It's  pretty*  Hold 
on  1  There's  a  postman*  He'll  know/ 

He,  too,  was  in  khaki,  bowed  between  mail- 
bags,  and  his  accent  was  of  a  far  and  coaly 

'I'm  none  too  sure,'  said  he,  'but  1  think  I 
saw ' 

Here  a  third  man  cut  in* 

4  Yon's  t'  battalion,  marchin'  into  t'  park  now* 
Roon !  Happen  tha'll  catch  'em*' 



They  turned  out  to  be  Territorials  with  a  history 
behind  them;  but  that  I  didn't  know  till  later; 
and  their  band  and  cyclists*  Very  polite  were 
those  rear^rank  cyclists — who  pushed  their  loaded 
machines  with  one  vast  hand  apiece* 

They  were  strangers*  they  said*  They  had  only 
come  here  a  few  days  ago*  But  they  knew  the 
South  well*  They  had  been  in  Gloucestershire* 
which  was  a  very  nice  southern  place* 

Then  their  battalion*  I  hazarded*  was  of 
northern  extraction  ? 

They  admitted  that  I  might  go  as  far  as  that ; 
their  speech  betraying  their  native  town  at  every 
rich  word* 

4 Huddersfield*  of  course?'  I  said*  to  make 
them  out  with  it* 

'Bolton/  said  one  at  last*  Being  in  uniform 
the  pitman  could  not  destroy  the  impertinent 

'Ah*  Bolton!'  I  returned*  4 All  cotton*  aren't 

4  Some  coal/  he  answered  gravely*  There  is 
notorious  rivalry  'twixt  coal  and  cotton  in  Bolton* 
but  I  wanted  to  see  him  practise  the  self-control 
that  the  Army  is  always  teaching* 

As  I  have  said*  he  and  his  companion  were 
most  polite,  but  the  total  of  their  information* 
boiled  and  peeled*  was  that  they  had  just  come 
from  Bolton  way ;  might  at  any  moment  be  sent 



somewhere  else,  and  they  liked  Gloucestershire  in 
the  south*  A  spy  could  not  have  learned  much 

The  battalion  halted,  and  moved  off  by  com* 
panies  for  further  evolutions.  One  could  see  they 
were  more  than  used  to  drill  and  arms ;  a  hardened, 
thick-necked,  thin-flanked,  deep-chested  lot,  dealt 
with  quite  faithfully  by  their  sergeants,  and  alto^ 
gether  abreast  of  their  work.  Why,  then,  this 
reticence  ?  What  had  they  to  be  ashamed  of,  these 
big  Bolton  folk  without  an  address  ?  Where  was 
their  orderly-room  ? 

There  were  many  orderly-rooms  in  the  little  old 
town,  most  of  them  in  bye-lanes  less  than  one  car 
wide*  I  found  what  I  wanted,  and — this  was  north- 
country  all  over — a  private  who  volunteered  to 
steer  me  to  headquarters  through  the  tricky  southern 
streets.  He  was  communicative,  and  told  me  a 
good  deal  about  typhoid-inoculation  and  musketry 
practice,  which  accounted  for  only  six  companies 
being  on  parade.  But  surely  they  could  not  have 
been  ashamed  of  that. 


I  unearthed  their  skeleton  at  last  in  a  peaceful, 
gracious  five-hundred-year-old  house  that  looked 
on  to  lawns  and  cut  hedges  bounded  by  age-old 
red  brick  walls — such  a  perfumed  and  dreaming 



place  as  one  would  choose  for  the  setting  of  some 
even^pulsed  English  love^tale  of  the  days  before 
the  wan 

Officers  were  billeted  in  the  low^ceiled,  shiny* 
floored  rooms  full  of  books  and  flowers* 

4  And  now/  I  asked,  when  I  had  told  the  tale  of 
the  uncommunicative  cyclist,  '  what  is  the  matter 
with  your  battalion  ? ' 

They  laughed  cruelly  at  me*  4  Matter  I*  said 
they*  'We're  just  off  three  months  of  guarding 
railways*  After  that  a  man  wouldn't  trust  his  own 
mother*  You  don't  mean  to  say  our  cyclists  let 
you  know  where  we've  come  from  last  ? ' 

4  No,  they  didn't,'  I  replied*  4  That  was  what 
worried  me*  I  assumed  you'd  all  committed 
murders,  and  had  been  sent  here  to  live  it  down/ 

Then  they  told  me  what  guarding  a  line  really 
means*  How  men  wake  and  walk,  with  only 
express  troop-trains  to  keep  them  company,  all  the 
night  long  on  windy  embankments  or  under  still 
more  windy  bridges ;  how  they  sleep  behind  three 
sleepers  up-ended  or  a  bit  of  tin,  or*  if  they  are 
lucky,  in  a  platelayer's  hut ;  how  their  food  comes 
to  them  slopping  across  the  square«headed  ties  that 
lie  in  wait  to  twist  a  man's  ankle  after  dark  $  how 
they  stand  in  blown  coal-dust  of  goods  'yards  trying 
to  watch  five  lines  of  trucks  at  once ;  how  fools  of 
all  classes  pester  the  lonely  pickets,  whose  orders 
are  to  hold  up  motors  for  inquiry,  and  then  write 



silly  letters  to  the  War  Office  about  it*  How 
nothing  ever  happens  through  the  long  weeks  but 
infallibly  would  if  the  patrols  were  taken  off*  And 
they  had  one  refreshing  story  of  a  workman  who 
at  six  in  the  morning,  which  is  no  auspicious  hour 
to  jest  with  Lancashire,  took  a  short  cut  to  his 
work  by  ducking  under  some  goods^wagons,  and 
when  challenged  by  the  sentry  replied,  posturing 
on  all  fours,  4  Boo,  I'm  a  German ! '  Whereat  the 
upright  sentry  fired,  unfortunately  missed  him,  and 
then  gave  him  the  butt  across  his  ass's  head,  so 
that  his  humour,  and  very  nearly  his  life,  terminated* 
After  which  the  sentry  was  seldom  seen  to  smile, 
but  frequently  heard  to  murmur, 4  Ah  should  hev 
slipped  t'  baggonet  into  him/ 


4  So  you  see/  said  the  officers  in  conclusion, 
4  you  mustn't  be  surprised  that  our  men  wouldn't 
tell  you  much/ 

4 1  begin  to  see/  I  said*  '  How  many  of  you  are 
coal  and  how  many  cotton  ? f 

'Two'thirds  coal  and  one^third  cotton,  roughly* 
It  keeps  the  men  deadly  keen*  An  operative  isn't 
going  to  give  up  while  a  pitman  goes  on ;  and  very 
much  vice  versa.' 

4  That's  class-prejudice/  said  I* 

4  It's  most  useful/  said  they*    The  officers  them" 



selves  seemed  to  be  interested  in  coal  or  cotton,  and 
had  known  their  men  intimately  on  the  civil  side* 
If  your  orderly-room  sergeant,  or  your  quarter- 
master has  been  your  trusted  head  clerk  or  foreman 
for  ten  or  twelve  years,  and  if  eight  out  of  a  dozen 
sergeants  have  controlled  pitmen  and  machinists, 
above  and  below  ground,  and  eighty  per  cent  of 
these  pitmen  and  machinists  are  privates  in  the 
companies,  your  regiment  works  with  something 
of  the  precision  of  a  big  business. 

It  was  all  new  talk  to  me,  for  I  had  not  yet  met 
a  Northern  Territorial  battalion  with  the  strong 
pride  of  its  strong  town  behind  it.  Where  were 
they  when  the  war  came  ?  How  had  they  equipped 
themselves  ?  I  wanted  to  hear  the  tale.  It  was 
worth  listening  to  as  told  with  North- Country  joy 
of  life  and  the  doing  of  things  in  that  soft  down- 
country  house  of  the  untroubled  centuries.  Like 
every  one  else,  they  were  expecting  anything  but 
war.  'Hadn't  even  begun  their  annual  camp* 
Then  the  thing  came,  and  Bolton  rose  as  one  man 
and  woman  to  fit  out  its  battalion.  There  was  a 
lady  who  wanted  a  fairly  large  sum  of  money  for 
the  men's  extra  footgear.  She  set  aside  a  morning 
to  collect  it,  and  inside  the  hour  came  home  with 
nearly  twice  her  needs,  and  spent  the  rest  of  the 
time  trying  to  make  people  take  back  fivers,  at  least, 
out  of  tenners.  And  the  big  hauling  firms  flung 
horses  and  transport  at  them  and  at  the  Govern- 



ment,  often  refusing  any  price,  or,  when  it  was 
paid,  turning  it  into  the  war  funds*  What  the 
battalion  wanted  it  had  but  to  ask  for.  Once  it 
was  short  of,  say,  towels*  An  officer  approached 
the  head  of  a  big  firm,  with  no  particular  idea  he 
would  get  more  than  a  few  dozen  from  that  quarter* 

4  And  how  many  towels  d 'you  want  ? '  said  the 
head  of  the  firm*  The  officer  suggested  a  globular 

4 1  think  you'll  do  better  with  twelve  hundred/ 
was  the  curt  answer*  4  They're  ready  out  yonder* 
Get  'em/ 

And  in  this  style  Bolton  turned  out  her  battalion* 
Then  the  authorities  took  it  and  strung  it  by  threes 
and  fives  along  several  score  miles  of  railway  track : 
and  it  had  only  just  been  reassembled,  and  it  had 
been  inoculated  for  typhoid*  Consequently,  they 
said  (but  all  officers  are  like  mothers  and  motorcar 
owners),  it  wasn't  up  to  what  it  would  be  in  a 
little  time*  In  spite  of  the  cyclist,  I  had  had  a 
good  look  at  the  deep  ^  chested  battalion  in  the 
park,  and  after  getting  their  musketry  figures,1  it 
seemed  to  me  that  very  soon  it  might  be  worth 
looking  at  by  more  prejudiced  persons  than  myself* 

1  Thanks  to  the  miniature  rifle  clubs  fostered  by  Lord 
Roberts  a  certain  number  of  recruits  in  all  the  armies  come  to 
their  regiments  with  a  certain  knowledge  of  sighting,  rifle* 
handling,  and  the  general  details  of  good  shooting,  especially 
at  snap  and  disappearing  work. 



The  next  day  I  read  that  this  battalion's  regular 
battalion  in  the  field  had  distinguished  itself  by 
a  piece  of  work  which,  in  other  wars,  would  have 
been  judged  heroic*  Bolton  will  read  it,  not 
without  remarks,  and  other  towns  who  love 
Bolton,  more  or  less,  will  say  that  if  all  the  truth 
could  come  out  their  regiments  had  done  as  well* 
Anyway,  the  result  will  be  more  men — pitmen, 
milLhands,  clerks,  checkers,  weighers,  winders,  and 
hundreds  of  those  sleek,  welLgroomed  business- 
chaps  whom  one  used  to  meet  in  the  big  Midland 
hotels,  protesting  that  war  was  out  of  date*  These 
latter  develop  surprisingly  in  the  camp  atmosphere* 
I  recall  one  raging  in  his  army  shirt  -  sleeves  at 
a  comrade  who  had  derided  his  principles*  '  I  am 
a  blanky  pacificist/  he  hissed, 4  and  I'm  proud  of 
it,  and — and  I'm  going  to  make  you  one  before 
I've  finished  with  you  I ' 


Pride  of  city,  calling,  class,  and  creed  imposes 
standards  and  obligations  which  hold  men  above 
themselves  at  a  pinch,  and  steady  them  through 
long  strain*  One  meets  it  in  the  New  Army  at 
every  turn,  from  the  picked  Territorials  who  slipped 
across  Channel  last  night  to  the  six-week-old 
Service  battalion  maturing  itself  in  mud*  It  is 



balanced  by  the  ineradicable  English  instinct  to 
understate,  detract,  and  decry — to  mask  the  thing 
done  by  loudly  drawing  attention  to  the  things 
undone*  The  more  one  sees  of  the  camps  the 
more  one  is  filled  with  facts  and  figures  of  joyous 
significance,  which  will  become  clearer  as  the  days 
lengthen ;  and  the  less  one  hears  of  the  endurance, 
decency,  self-sacrifice,  and  utter  devotion  which 
have  made,  and  are  hourly  making,  this  wonderful 
new  world*  The  camps  take  this  for  granted— 
else  why  should  any  man  be  there  at  all?  He 
might  have  gone  on  with  his  business,  or — watched 
4  soccer/  But  having  chosen  to  do  his  bit,  he 
does  it,  and  talks  as  much  about  his  motives  as 
he  would  of  his  religion  or  his  love-affairs*  He 
is  eloquent  over  the  shortcomings  of  the  authorities, 
more  pessimistic  as  to  the  future  of  his  next 
neighbour  battalion  than  would  be  safe  to  print, 
and  lyric  on  his  personal  needs — baths  and  drying* 
rooms  for  choice*  But  when  the  grousing  gets 
beyond  a  certain  point — say  at  three  a.m»,  in 
steady  wet,  with  the  tent-pegs  drawing  like  false 
teeth — the  nephew  of  the  insurance-agent  asks  the 
cousin  of  the  baronet  to  inquire  of  the  son  of  the 
fried-fish  vendor  what  the  stevedore's  brother  and 
the  tutor  of  the  public  school  joined  the  Army 
/or*  Then  they  sing  4  Somewhere  the  Sun  is 
Shining'  till  the  Sergeant  Ironmonger's  assistant 
cautions  them  to  drown  in  silence  or  the  Lieutenant 



Telephone"appliances"manufacturer  will  speak  to 
them  in  the  morning* 

The  New  armies  have  not  yet  evolved  their 
typical  private,  n**oo.,  and  officer,  though  one 
can  see  them  shaping*  They  are  humorous 
because,  for  all  our  long  faces,  we  are  the  only 
genuinely  humorous  race  on  earth;  but  they  all 
know  for  true  that  there  are  no  excuses  in  the 
Service*  'If  there  were?  said  a  three "month" 
old  under  ^gardener  ^private  to  me,  'what  'ud 
become  of  Discipline  ? f 

They  are  already  setting  standards  for  the 
coming  millions,  and  have  sown  little  sprouts  of 
regimental  tradition  which  may  grow  into  age-old 
trees*  In  one  corps,  for  example,  though  no 
dubbin  is  issued  a  man  loses  his  name  for  parad" 
ing  with  dirty  boots*  He  looks  down  scornfully 
on  the  next  battalion  where  they  are  not  expected 
to  achieve  the  impossible*  In  another  —  an  ex" 
Guards  sergeant  brought  'em  up  by  hand — the  drill 
is  rather  high"class*  In  a  third  they  fuss  about 
records  for  route^marching,  and  men  who  fall  out 
have  to  explain  themselves  to  their  sweating  com" 
panions*  This  is  entirely  right*  They  are  all 
now  in  the  Year  One,  and  the  meanest  of  them 
may  be  an  ancestor  of  whom  regimental  posterity 
will  say :  4  There  were  giants  in  those  days ! ' 




This  much  we  can  realise,  even  though  we  are 
so  close  to  it  The  old  safe  instinct  saves  us  from 
triumph  and  exultation*  But  what  will  be  the 
position  in  years  to  come  of  the  young  man  who 
has  deliberately  elected  to  outcaste  himself  from 
this  all-embracing  brotherhood?  What  of  his 
family,  and,  above  all,  what  of  his  descendants, 
when  the  books  have  been  closed  and  the  last 
balance  struck  of  sacrifice  and  sorrow  in  every 
hamlet,  village,  parish,  suburb,  city,  shire,  district, 
province,  and  Dominion  throughout  the  Empire  ? 

Printed  by  R.  &  R.  CLARK,  LIMITED,  Edinburgh. 



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